Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Development Projects
648. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the support she is putting in place to help voluntary community groups meet operating costs during the Covid-19 pandemic when their usual means of fundraising cannot take place. [62826/21]
My Department has put in place a number of supports to assist the community, voluntary, charity and social enterprise sectors in dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and the social restrictions necessary in the interests of public health.
During 2020, the COVID-19 Stability Fundsupported close to 600 organisations to continue to deliver vital services to the communities that depend on them. A further one-off allocation of €10m was provided to the Stability Fund for 2021.
The COVID-19 Stability Fund 2021 was launched on Thursday 6th May, and was targeted at organisations, that met the published criteria, and which deliver critical services to vulnerable people within their community but which faced closure or a loss of service due to the impact of the pandemic. 244 organisations were supported under the Stability Fund in 2021. All applicants have now received an outcome and the fund is closed. There are no plans to reopen the Stability Fund at this time.
In November, I was pleased to launch the new Community Activities Fund. This €9m fund is being provided to support community and voluntary groups impacted by COVID-19. This once-off funding, allocated under the Department’s Community Enhancement Programme and administered locally by the Local Community Development Committees will support groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, with their running costs such as utility or insurance bills, as well as with improvements to their facilities. Groups will also be able to use the funding to carry out necessary repairs and to purchase equipment such as tables and chairs, tools and signage, laptops and printers, lawnmowers, canopies and training equipment. Applications for funding can be made to the relevant LCDC. Contact details for LCDCs are available here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/38066e-local-community-development-committees-list/.
My Department also developed a Support Fund to provide additional funding to organisations supported under the Community Services Programme (CSP) and recently announced a further extension of €1m to the CSP Support Fund to cover the period up to December 2021, bringing the total funding allocated to the CSP Support Fund to €8.95m for 2020-2021. This funding was provided to CSP supported organisations who required additional assistance to continue to retain the CSP supported employees on their payroll, provided assistance for the Employers PRSI contribution and supported organisations considered by my Department to be most in need, to cover overhead costs such as insurance, light, heat and Audit fees.
In general, I would encourage all organisations to continue to engage with their Local Authority and Local Development Company, and to check on the Gov.ie website in order to be aware of funding opportunities as they become available.